By Marilyn Delk

So very many positives can result from being a part of a theatre production! In addition to the personal fulfillment one feels from successfully creating your assigned role, the sense of true community that develops among all involved supports and sustains each person off-stage as well as while playing a part on the stage.

But that’s not nearly all of the benefits that accrue for youngsters who participate in Darke County Center for the Arts’ annual presentation of a residency by Missoula Children’s Theatre. MCT’s mission is to develop life skills in children through participation in the performing arts; past participants (and their parents) will attest to the achievement of that goal in their own lives, an achievement that continues long after the show has ended.

This year’s residency begins on July 27, when auditions for approximately 60 roles in MCT’s King Arthur’s Quest will be held; all students entering grades 1 through 12 are invited to attend this exciting and fun session that begins at 10 a.m. and continues until noon. No advance preparation is necessary for the audition, although a big smile always helps. And, sadly, not everyone who auditions is guaranteed a role; however not being cast is also a learning experience that can contribute to growth and maturity. If you have, know, or are a kid between the ages of 6 and 18, take advantage of this opportunity for participation in something wonderful, all at no cost to the participants.

Rehearsals begin immediately following the tryout session and continue daily throughout the week. And, in that one short, intense week, lines are learned, songs are taught, choreography is mastered; then, in the joyous culmination of all that effort, the fully-formed musical will be performed for the enjoyment of the general public on Aug. 1 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The famous characters of Camelot will spring to life on stage, bringing medieval England to Darke County in the twenty-first century. As in all MCT productions, King Arthur’s Quest will have a wise and witty script, the characters will be believable, interesting, and sometimes silly, the songs will sound delightful and melodic, the creative costumes and make-up will draw oohs and aahs and sometimes be absolutely adorable. You can count on a plot where challenging conflicts arise, but problems will be resolved and all will live happily ever after.

Due to the renovation currently taking place at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall, the usual MCT residency venue, all of this activity will occur at Versailles Performing Arts Center. Although Versailles is less centrally located than Greenville, almost no one in Darke County is more than a 35-minute drive from VPAC, a part of the Versailles Schools complex at 280 Marker Road. Needless to say, all that is gained by participants makes this a trip well worth taking.

As the saying goes, in theatre, there are no small parts—each role is necessary for the show to go on. A sense of individual responsibility is developed as everyone on stage is dependent upon and responsible to everyone else; true equality is demonstrated regardless of differences. Basic lessons of group dynamics are absorbed while each participant is given opportunity to excel. Social skills, communication abilities, self-discipline, and a strong work ethic are all developed while a very, very good time is had by all. And everyone on stage, regardless of the size of his/her role, is given a moment to shine, to sparkle. Self-esteem is enhanced, self-confidence reinforced, and pride in a job well-done can be called upon forever after.

Who would not want to be involved in such a worthwhile activity; make the short trip to Versailles for an experience that can propel a youngster into new worlds and will be remembered for a life time! Tickets for the show are a mere $5; you can support your young friends and neighbors, as well as Darke County Center for the Arts, by your attendance at this once and forever performance. For more information, contact DCCA at 937-547-0908 or dcca@centerforarts.net.